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Italians dig deep to reveal forgotten Roman city

Italians dig deep to reveal forgotten Roman city
trefwoorden: ItaliŽ - romeinse tijd - vergeten stad - Pozzuoli
Archaeologists are used to rummaging in the dirt for lost treasures, but they rarely have to do it with an entire city weighing down on them.
Yet for 10 years, an Italian team has been beavering away underground to reveal the wonders of Pozzuoli, once the port of ancient Rome, which is buried under a 16th century city.
Excavators at Pompeii, entombed in ash and toxic debris by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, were able to remove the volcanic material and expose the city to the open air.
But in Pozzuoli, whose beauty was such that the great Roman orator Cicero called it "little Rome," the ancient streets were encased in the foundations of a new city built by the Spanish in the 1500s, when they ruled what was then the Kingdom of Naples.
"It would be unthinkable to destroy or damage the Spanish city because it is of major historical and architectural import," said Costanza Gialanella, the archaeologist in charge.
"But it would be equally unthinkable not to excavate the ancient city. It was a thriving port in its heyday -- much more important than Pompeii, which was a provincial town."
Which leaves those doing the digging in a tricky situation.

Lees verder bij: Reuters (12 augustus 2003)